Splenomegaly

Definition

Splenomegaly is a larger-than-normal spleen.

Considerations

The spleen is an organ that is a part of the lymph system. It filters the blood and maintains healthy red and white blood cells and platelets.

Many health conditions can affect the spleen. This includes:

Symptoms of splenomegaly include:

Causes

Home Care

It is important to prevent injury that might cause the spleen to rupture. You should avoid contact sports.

Your doctor or nurse will tell you what else you need to do to take care of yourself and any medical condition.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

There are usually no symptoms from an enlarged spleen. However, some people have pain in the left upper section of the belly area. You should medical help right away if it is severe or gets worse when you take a deep breath.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history.

A physical exam will be done. This will include feeling your abdomen (belly area). The health care provider will tap  (percuss) along the left upper part of your abdomen and feel (palpate) in that same area, especially just under the rib cage.

Tests that may be done include: 

This list is not all-inclusive.


Review Date: 2/19/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.